Back to School - Safety
Back to School Safety
School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.
Tragically, from 2006 to 2015 there were 301 school-age children (18 and younger) killed in school transportation-related crashes.
School Zone Driving Safety Tips:
It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.
- Be on the lookout for school zone signals and ALWAYS obey the speed limits.
- When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.
- Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
- Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.
- Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, in school parking lots, etc.
- Never pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.
- Never change lanes while driving in a school zone.
- Never make U-Turns while driving in a school zone.
- Never text while driving in a school zone.
- Avoid using a cell phone, unless it is completely hands-free, while driving in a school zone.
- Unless licensed to do so, never use handicap or emergency vehicle lanes or spaces to drop off or pick up children at school.
If You're Dropping Off:
Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:
- Don't double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
- Don't load or unload children across the street from the school
- Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians:
According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they're walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:
- Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
- In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
- Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
- Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
- Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way
Sharing the Road with School Buses:
If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you're on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
- Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks
Sharing the Road with Bicyclists:
On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.
- When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
- When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
- If you're turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
- Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
- Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
- Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
- Check side mirrors before opening your door
First Day of School...
The first day of school for the Monterey Peninsula School District for the 2019-2020 school year is on Wednesday, 7 August 2019.
Riding the School Bus:
School buses are the safest way for children to travel to and from school. However, there are dangers when children are boarding and leaving the bus. Over the last decade, nearly two-thirds of school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school transportation-related crashes were struck by school buses or other vehicles when getting on or off a school bus. Teach your child to always play it SAFE:
|Stay five steps away from the curb.|
|Always wait for the bus driver to tell you when to board.|
|Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.|
|Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus towards the curb.|
- Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Website
- Monterey Peninsula Unified School District - List of Comprehensive School Safety Plans
- National Safety Council - Safety on the Road
- National Safety Council - Back to School Safety Checklist
- National Safety Council - Buses are the Safest Mode of Transportation for School Children
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Back to School Safety